Canada to have first full-fledged India Chair

    By Gurmukh Singh, IANS,

    Toronto : Canada’s Carleton University will soon have an India Chair to promote research and understanding about the emerging South Asian giant.

    The Ottawa-based university signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Indian government Monday for setting up the India Chair at its Canada-India Centre of Excellence in Science, Technology, Trade and Policy.

    After launching its Canada-India Centre of Excellence in Science, Technology, Trade and Policy in February last year, Carleton will also become the first Canadian university to have a full-fledged India Chair.

    A unique institution in itself, the Canada-India Centre of Excellence in Science, Technology, Trade and Policy promotes bilateral studies and public diplomacy, and develop initiatives to build a better understanding between the two countries.

    “The Indian high commissioner is signing a MoU with the university for an India Chair to serve as a platform for public policy on India outside the confines of governments. The Chair will be the platform to discuss and promote understanding and cooperation between the public and private institutions of the two countries,” Indian diplomatic sources told IANS.

    The government of India will contribute to the creation of the Chair.

    Though some Canadian universities have India study programmes in their Asian departments, none has a full-fledged India Chair.

    “This Indian Chair will give India a visibility in Canada. For long, India has been requesting Canada to have an India Centre (Chair). It is a very good thing,” said Toronto-based Ravi Seethapathy, former chair of the Shastri Indo-Canadian Institute that promotes academic activities and exchanges between the two countries.

    Among other Canadian universities, Vancouver-based Simon Fraser University has the regional Chair on Canada-India Business and Economic Development to foster economic and academic links between British Columbia province and India.

    This Chair is part of the university’s Centre for Indo-Canadian Studies which provides information for people eager to do business with India and is the sister organization of the Canadian Studies Centre at Panjab University in Chandigarh.

    Vancouver-based British Columbia University and the University of Regina in Saskatchewan province also have India study programmes.